There were two distinct impulses in 20th-century industrial culinary creativity: To create items that looked exactly like how they were supposed to taste, such as gummy strawberries or Tato Skins, and to come up with presentations that were totally divorced from their flavors. There are no perfectly rectangular fish in the sea, but starting in the 1950s, food manufacturers filled supermarket freezer cases with what they touted as the ocean’s hot dog.
“Our desire to re-create them is based on nostalgia,” says Mike Lata of The Ordinary, where fish fingers are still in the R&D stage. Additionally, Charleston-area chefs often confront the same problem that the tidy sticks were invented to solve: fish scraps.
The bar at Cypress, 167 East Bay St., 843-727-0111, cypresscharleston.com
Fish sticks, $14